Getting in my own sway

I’m not sure if you know this, but if you get tired enough you’re basically high.

Cut to me roaming the halls at work, swaying as I walked. Not a sexy, seductive kind of sway. Less hip movement, and more of an I’m losing touch with reality and boy oh boy I need to keep my head from flailing into errant walls kind of sway. Perhaps it wasn’t a wise idea for me to bike to work. Perhaps it was an even less wise idea for me to bike home from work. All I know is, I’m very thankful it was a moderately slow shift, because I don’t think I could’ve handled much workload. I messaged my girlfriend at some point to let her know I was getting motion blurs from turning my head too quickly. It was like bad VR, which already gives me motion sickness. Thank fuck my eyes have a decent depth of field, otherwise I’m not sure I could’ve handled my own body. The saving grace was that as long as I was stationary, I was mostly fine. I don’t need to rapidly turn my head at my desk to do my job, so I could at least get the work done without much of an issue.

Last night I made an important, but boring decision. I decided to stay home from the final of Late Bad. As I’ve raved over the past week, it’s quickly become my favourite local comedy show. The hosts are fantastic, the recurring bits are absurd, and it tickled my funny bones all over. In a whimsical, not creepy way. I think having your bones tickled might be a meth symptom, but I can’t be sure. Hell, I’m not even sure how many funny bones I have. I clearly cannot be trusted as a medical expert. In any case, I was at work thinking I might be stepping outside of liminal time right now, but do I stay up in the present to see Late Bad? I did notice how much better I’d felt after eating a full meal, and I’d thrusted enough caffeine into my body to make sleep an intangible concept. T H R U S T E D. I knew going to Late Bad wasn’t a good idea, but I didn’t trust myself to make smart decisions. Like, how could I know that the things I thought were ill advised were actually, well, that? What if my concepts were twisted all challah-like? It was Rosh Hashana, but what if it was also opposite day?

Deep down I knew I shouldn’t go. Look, there’s no misdirect here. I already told you I didn’t. But we’re living in the future. I didn’t know that even after I’d left work, liminal time or no. I got let out early, and had ample time to actually make it to the show. I was on my bike, and still couldn’t decide. I was riding seated, one-handed, up a hill, texting my girlfriend about my indecision. Then I realised, that I was riding seated, one-handed, up a hill, texting my girlfriend. I wanted to go to the show, but I clearly wasn’t in a sane state of mind to make those decisions. I took stock, and thought back to the festival. I remembered how good I’d felt making smart decisions not to fall prey to FOMO. I thought about my potential next day after staying up late at Comedy Bar. No doubt I’d get a drink, maybe two, get sucked into the frenzy of the final off-festival show and 4am last call. I knew how terrible today’s shift would be, given that it might actually get busy. I understood that, if I decided to see the show, much as I wanted to, it would mean I’d clearly learned nothing from my experiences. I may have been delirious with exhaustion, but I wasn’t a dummy. I went home, chilled out, and had a full night’s rest.

Sure, I kinda regret my decision, but I was going to either way.

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Did you realise Mountain Dew was caffeinated? I sure did

I survived. Better yet, I thrived.

JFL42 is over for another year. What a year it was. As I said yesterday, I opted for quality over quantity this year and it paid dividends. Yesterday I went to a talk on mental health in comedy. There were laughs, naturally, but a lot of wise words. The panel was Byron Bowers, DeAnne Smith, Andy Kindler and Jessica Holmes, along with moderator Allison Dore. Byron was a performer I’d only recently seen for the first time, but a ton of his set involves some intense vulnerability. He talks about his father being a homeless schizophrenic, dealing with abuse, and intrusive thoughts. It was a solid show, and it became pretty evident throughout that he was a deep thinker that’d done a lot of self analysis. During the panel, everyone spoke to different aspects of performance, anxiety, depression, and what worked for them. It was compassionate, and fascinating. The number of times I found myself involuntarily grunting my agreement was astounding.

After the talk, I had some downtime, and I wanted to prep. The next show I had booked was a live reading of Harold and Kumar. I thought it’d only be fitting to get quite high and have snacks. I did both of those things. I pulled out my vape and dawdled along King Street towards Dollarama. On the way I stumbled across a Bulk Barn, which was oh so much better. I got a bunch of candy, then bought a large fountain drink at the cinema. High? Check. Candy? Check. Absurdly sized Mountain Dew? Check. I was ready.

The reading was a ton of fun. They had a fantastic cast assembled. Warren Sonoda, the film’s director was there. The biggest name would’ve been Stephanie Beatriz (Rosa from Brooklyn 99), but the rest of the panel were all super talented. Local comic Mark Forward proved unequivocally that there’s no such thing as a small part, utterly stealing the show as the Elevator Ding. It was a cool set up. Aside from Stephanie and Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) as Kumar and Harold respectively, everyone played a ton of parts. They all had scripts with their lines highlighted, and everyone got a chance to have a ton of fun scenes. Ann Pornel had a particularly inspired turn as a rabid raccoon. The whole thing was such a neat experience. Seeing these actors getting to let loose and have fun with the script was fantastic. Every once in a while I’d close my eyes and try to view it as a film in my mind’s eye, if that made sense. The show ran long, and I had to skip my booked 7pm act. I didn’t care in the slightest, I’d had such a great time.

Late Bad was its usual brand of brilliant bollocks. As the unofficial “last night” of the festival, Comedy Bar went off until 4am last call. Hell, it probably went off for longer, but I had a serious need for sleep. One last Late Bad show tonight, that I’ll check in on after work, then I may sit out the comedy for a week or two. I think I’ve earned it.

No cold, no sweat

It’s not the last day of JFL42, but it might as well be.

I think I’m pretty much done with traditional stand up for a little while. I’ve had an amazing time this festival. For the first time ever, I’ve put this nebulous concept of “value” to the side, in lieu of understanding what value really means. Every other year, with the delights of the credit system, I’ve gone balls deep. It’s been about maximising my experience, seeing a 7pm, 9pm, 11pm and midnight show every day for nine days (it’s a ten day festival, but inevitably I’ll get a cold on day five). This year I’ve been cruising, choosing and snoozing. I cut out a bunch of my 11pm shows and instead got a good night’s rest before work in the morning. This other concept of value is something I’ve been striving for in life, and this has been a pretty good representation of it. What the hell do I mean? I’ll explain for any other dummies like me who took a while.

You know buffets, right? For basically my entire life, anything All You Can Eat has been an excuse for endurance/pain tolerance. A little while ago I realised that this is a weird concept. You’re not gonna beat the house in a buffet. Just not gonna happen. If you do, the cost you pay will be your own discomfort in trying to evacuate your body for the next few days. Sub-optimal. So if eating as much as was humanly possible wasn’t the point, what was? Well, the variety. At a buffet you can do all kinds of combinations. You can try flavours together, or get usually incongruous foods that’d be too expensive to acquire in a normal restaurant. Enjoying the range of options was the goal, and the increased price point represented that.

Applying this to JFL42 has been a game changer. Every other year, I’ve been champing at the bit to maximise my number of shows. Every other year I’ve been seeing every single act I could, even if I didn’t have a ton of interest. The point was to see as much comedy as I could, which came at the detriment of being more discerning. Every other year I’ve been physically exhausted, mentally drained and borderline ill at the end of the festival. I haven’t been participating in as many shows, but I’ve tried to ensure that the shows I’ve seen are ones I’ve very much wanted to. Konmari-ing the shit out of it. Consequently, I feel so much better. I’m tired, yes, but I haven’t burned the candle at both ends.

That said, once my work rotation shifted and I had days off, I switched into watching my new favourite show: Late Bad. It’s an absurd collection of one liners, live commentary, musical accompaniment, impressions and character work. It’s been a free, non JFL42 show starting at 12.30am daily. Much as I love the festival, Late Bad may have overshadowed it. My desire to sit for an hour and watch one act has been obliterated by this bizarre, fragmented collection of bits. So while I haven’t been going all out to see these traditional stand up shows (and I may skip all of mine tonight to attend my friend’s Erotic Fanfiction Competition party), I’ve very much been staying out late and having a blast.

Weirdly, this may have been one of my favourite JFL42s ever.

A giant, troll and elf crab warrior walked into a gingerbread house…

I know things have been very JFL42 focused lately. It makes sense. That’s where my priorities have been at. That said, while I was making sure I could get out to my shows, there was a whole new Magic set released. So here’s one for anyone who’s into that.

Throne of Eldraine is a pretty neat set. I’m not entirely sure how powerful it is, but it’s fun, and the flavour quotient is through the roof. Despite my best intentions on getting the best possible EV out of my Magic Arena gems, I played two sealed pools. It’s a reasonably fast format. Both pools had more than adequate removal, but I was pulled into red each time. The obvious MVP from my first pool was Bonecrusher Giant. Of course it’s great. It’s a removal spell plus above rate body that fits into tempo plans. The less obvious MVP was Robber of the Rich, which I pulled in both pools. There’s a lot of keyword soup going on, which proves to be useful rather than cluttered. The reach didn’t make much sense to me outside of flavour reasons, but Robin Hood being an archer makes it feel worth it. It might be good enough for constructed. Notable is the fact that you can suicide him if you just want an extra card, or want to unlock something he’s previously pilfered. Very cool card.

But that’s not really what I’m super psyched to talk about today. Here’s the current standard deck I’ve got going:

Creatures (28)
4x Pelt Collector
4x Wildwood Tracker
4x Growth Chamber Guardian
2x Kraul Harpooner
3x Barkhide Troll
4x Syr Faren, the Hengehammer
1x Voracious Hydra
3x Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
2x Nightpack Ambusher
1x Shifting Ceratops

Noncreature (9)
4x Giant Growth
3x Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
2x The Great Henge

Land (23)
1x Castle Garenbrig
1x Gingerbread Cabin
21x Forest

These are not the final numbers, this is what I could assemble with my limited rare wildcards. It wants more Voracious Hydra, it wants Questing Beast and Once Upon a Time. It wants the full alotment of Castle Garenbrig. That said, this deck is still putting up decent results. The Great Henge is The Real Deal. It’s like they took every value thing green likes to do and slapped them on one card. Most of the time in this deck it comes down for 5 mana, then lets you drop an instant Growth Chamber Guardian to gain 2 life, draw a card and chain up as many Guardians as you can get your hands on. If we still had our dearly departed Steel Leaf Champion, it would’ve been obscene. We don’t though, and there’s no use crying over it.

As the deck currently runs, it’s very quick and low to the ground. Yorvo was a card I assumed wouldn’t go as far as I wanted. Just something to eat removal. Thing is, it’s significantly above curve, and if it’s not handled it gets out of control. It’s especially good here because the 1 and 2 drops are so strong. Pelt Collector and Wildwood Tracker may as well be 2/2s for a single green mana. Syr Faren, the Hengehammer, really is the MVP though. The sheer quantity of damage this dude creates is unreal. I had a turn 3 kill with this deck. Turn 1 Pelt Collector, turn 2 Syr Faren, turn 3 double giant growth and turn my cards sideways. 20 damage exactly. If you’re on the draw, that’s one hell of a quick game.

Vivien Arkbow Ranger makes a ton of sense here. She gives some reach/removal, but the trample she grants is awesome. Either she’s pumping up Syr Faren so he can really deliver to ya, or giving your big friendly giant Yorvo the power to beat face with impunity. Or, y’know, keeping Growth Chamber Guardian stocks at the ready. Boy do I love that card. Mostly it’s just really fun to “sleeve” up giant growths again. They play a ton of roles, either representing 6 damage for a single mana with Syr Faren, saving creatures or clinching those games that’d otherwise be just out of reach. Once Upon a Time would really help the deck’s consistency, and allow you to increase your creature quality rather than density. My numbers of Castle Garenbrig are low because I simply don’t have the card, but in the meantime I’d consider swapping another forest for a Gingerbread Cabin. The food isn’t a lot, but it’s also not nothing.

Sometimes it is easy being green.

Best of all, I don’t even need to toss any wrapping paper

Is there any more splendid feeling than giving yourself a gift?

This morning I had cereal for breakfast. On my days off, I’ve been becoming lazy about eating breakfast. My usual porridge seems too much of an ordeal, and I have cereal instead. I have a favourite small spoon. It’s halfway between a tea spoon and dessert spoon. It’s very sturdy, and ideal for porridge, which is often too hot to eat a lot of at once. When I have cereal, however, I like having a dessert spoon. It’s more in line with my ideal cereal per bite (CPB. An unnecessary acronym I’ll probably never use again). Today I reached into the cutlery drawer before emptying the dish rack. I found a dessert spoon with a large bowl, of a solid density. I realised that months ago I bought myself this spoon, then forgot it existed. It’d been buried under our more commonly used spoons. What a gift I gave myself. My cereal was at least 20% more enjoyable than it would’ve been otherwise.

Today I made a gift for my future self. I finished up at the gym, and looked at the scale. It’d been six months or more since I’d last looked. I’ve always had a pretty shitty relationship with the scale. I know that numbers are just that, and lack the nuance of proper health indicators, etc. I’m fit, flexible and fibrous. I don’t have any major ailments or conditions. I have an excellent quality of life, and I’m happy. Still, I’ve been raised on years worth of RPGs, and it’s hard not to look at those numbers like an XP meter. At times when I’ve worked hard, then seen lower numbers on the scale, it’s reinforced a positive relationship between that hard work and results. In times when I’ve felt shitty about my body, those numbers have made me feel substantially worse. A while back, I realised that those numbers had a net negative effect on my life, and resolved to ignore them.

At the same time, I’ve been feeling good about myself lately. Between going on anti-depressants, and the life changing effects of enjoying how my new work structure makes me feel, I’m riding on a high. I know that I’m not at my most toned, but I have a positive self image that’s improving my ability to navigate the world with a more balanced attitude. When I look in the mirror, I like my body. It’s a huge development, and I’m incredibly grateful to be undergoing it. I looked at the scale, and asked myself a question: Given that I’m happy with how I look and feel right now, would those numbers make a difference? I’d still be the same no matter whether or not I stepped on the scale. If the numbers attached to the way I feel were higher than I expected, but I was positive about that body, would those numbers mean anything? Purely out of logic, it didn’t make sense to get emotionally wounded by a few digits. I decided that if I could step on the scale and feel okay regardless, that would be a huge victory, lesson, and gift for my future self. I stepped on the scale.

For reference, my resting weight is around 78kg. If I’ve been working really hard at toning up, I often get to around 74kg. I think 73kg was me at my most toned. I was at 83kg for years, and it was a real effort to get under 80kg. Once I got there and made some healthy life changes, it became easier to maintain it. The scale today said 79kg. I stepped on and felt. Well. Fine. So I was heavier than my resting weight, but what did it matter? Just a number. I felt good about myself, and why would one digit change that? I’m hoping this is something I can carry forward, knowing the absurd weight those numbers have carried for years.

This was a great gift today, just imagine how good it could be in the future.

Does Hell have room? That must be a pretty big handbasket

Silver lining: From here on out, kids will never have to unironically say “I’m too old for this shit.”

The climate, it’s changing. Environmentally, politically and economically. It’s a whole big shitstorm, in that there will be storms, and shit is flying freely. Twitter is all a flutter about Trump’s potential impeachment. I’ve had my hopes dashed enough to assume that nothing’s going to come of it. I mean, sure, he released the transcript of the phone call with the Ukranian president and still wasn’t smart enough to leave out the illegal stuff.

On that, here’s the explanation of a transcript the white house lists as an addendum:

“CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation.· (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a
discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty
“Officers and-NSC policy staff assigned t_o listen.and memorialize the conversation in written form
as the conversation takes place. A numper of factors can affect ‘the accuracy of the record,
including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.”

Why are we getting a transcript of this, written by recollections? All of our calls are being recorded. There’s zero chance this wasn’t, and isn’t somewhere in a database. If you read the transcript, there’s also no way that Trump is this coherent. To be clear, there are probably at the very least, 50 impeachable offences he’s committed so far in office. I’m sure realistically it numbers in the hundreds. Corruption is rife, and his governmental style has been to change the law to fit his crimes, instead of not committing crime. It’s a weird turning point in politics. Of course cheating has been enmeshed with politics for years, and I’m not gonna pretend it’s solely a right wing activity. It is, however, a favoured right wing activity. I mean, somehow Florida is suffering issues with a crashed website on voter registration day. Quelle surprise.

Also, Stephen Fucking Harper is head of the International Democrat Union, a worldwide organisation that seeks to install right wing governments. I hate to say it, but they’re doing a very good job. Whether it’s the aforementioned voter suppression, bullshit robocall stuff, moving money around to third parties in order to bypass laws of election spending, or getting their cronies to spy on the opposition and gather info, this shit is helping them. It fucking sucks that people’s rights worldwide are being sidelined by the wants of rich men, but that’s nothing new. It’s just new that they’re so brazen and unapologetic about it.

You know what sucks? First Past The Post is still alive and well in Canadian politics. It’s a bullshit outdated system that makes little sense in a democracy. A lack of proportional representation means that I don’t get to vote for who I actually want in power. Look, I’m a leftist. I’d love to have the kind of idealism that lets me believe the NDP will be able to gain the majority, but it’s just not going to happen. Yeah, I know that this attitude is part of the problem, but it’s not all of it.

So in the 2015 Federal Election, the results for the big three were: Liberal 39.47%, Conservative 31.89%, NDP 19.71%. If this were any kind of proportional system, that would mean that at least 59.18% of the vote was left leaning. It’s not. FPTP is effectively a two party system, but without any right wing opposition, it means Liberal and NDP just exist to split votes. Let’s assume that most Conservative voters will stay unchanged. If NDP was to gain another 10% of the vote because of Trudeau’s blackface disgrace (and that’s a COLOSSAL, and likely very unlikely outcome, Liberals and NDP would both be at about 29%, with Conservatives at 31%. In this scenario, while the left would still have about 58% of the vote, the conservatives would win. How does that make sense? It seems incredibly unlikely that NDP would get more than 10%, which means that unless my logic is totally unsound, it’s almost morally unconscionable to vote NDP in this upcoming election. Especially since Scheer is just a mindless fucking puppet of Harper, who still holds the party purse strings.

This happened in Ontario already. It’s why DoFo won, and look how that turned out. Social services for the needy have been totally gutted, in service of tax breaks for DoFo’s already rich friends. We need to get rid of FPTP. Liberals promised to do it, then reneged on their promise. I can understand every reason why people want to vote NDP. I very much want to, and I don’t know if I’m optimistic enough to take a chance on a dream.

It’s 2019, we don’t have time for dreams anymore.

Do they call it a commute because people don’t talk?

Good morning everyone!

Aside from the cat, you’re the first people I’ve talked to this morning. Yes, the cat is people, or failing anything, it at least talks back. I’m at the point in JFL42 where each year, I get a cold. It happens annually because, in my rush to see as much comedy as possible, I forget that my body has other needs. Y’know, like sleep, vegetables, and hydration? I’m getting too damn old to go hard for that many days on end. And priapism is a medical condition. Coupled with this new job, where I have to a) pay attention and b) talk for hours on end, I’m feeling constantly exhausted, in a way that’s not chic or advisable whatsoever. Sure, I’m physically tired, but I’m also tired of the mentality that burnout is a badge of honour. You know what’s cooler than being a shambling assortment of loosely connected body parts? Being functional. So I’ve been skipping the 11pm shows over the past two nights. Yesterday I walked in the door just after 11pm, and was in bed ten minutes later. I’m old on an official level. I’m sure my hernia is in the mail as we speak.

I haven’t talked a bunch about the festival this year. I dunno. After doing reviews for so long, it’s been nice to sit back and think about the other stuff going on in my life instead. I mean, I actually have other stuff going on in my life this year. Still, there have been some excellent acts so far, and they’re worth mentioning. It’s odd, but I haven’t set many new acts yet. Roy Wood Jr on day one was outstanding. Long chunks of jokes, really well crafted. I was stoked to catch Aisha Brown’s hour as well. Really talented local. Nore Davis was one of the first new acts I saw, and he blew the house down. Interesting, laconic style with left field punchlines. He had a ten minute bit on Dragon Ball Z, subject matter I’d never heard on stage before. He was utterly outstanding.

Last night I caught Kate Berlant and Ron Funches. I’d seen both acts before, and both killed. I’m very curious to know how much of Berlant’s set was written, because it was expertly done in a manner that made it seem improvised. She was erratic, flitting around stage, stopping and starting bits haphazardly. Realistically, it probably was written in such a way that she could react to the crowd, but who’s to say? She did this excellent fortune teller crowd work piece where she cold read the crowd, assuming all responsibilities for when her predictions worked or didn’t. It’s hard to explain, but boy it was fun to watch. Ron Funches may have done my favourite set so far. His demeanor is so sweet and pure, stuffed with gratitude. He has so many out there premises, that the crowd just ate it up. I almost can’t wait to see him again the next time he tours.

I’ll have to though, cause I’ve still got a full day ahead of me until I’m off shift.